If you think there are hard-and-fast rules about designing dovetails, don’t read any further. You’ll get an ulcer.
North Carolina woodworker Mark Firley has collected a set of 472 photos of dovetails on antiques that he has collected in his travels all over the United States. Sift through this set, and you can find almost every possible layout scheme imaginable.
You’ll find sloppy and tidy tails. Skinny pins and corpulent ones. And slopes that go from almost vertical to – I swear it – 45°.
If you don’t get out much to inspect old work, here is a quick and painless education in the wide variety of ways you can cut this joint.
Visit the set of photos here. Remember that you can click on each photo and enlarge it.
And thanks to Mark for making this set available for everyone.
— Christopher Schwarz
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